ski beatz int lead

The second half of our interview with Ski gives us insight on what’s next for the veteran.

Though you’ve been around since the 90’s, you’ve relentlessly worked with new, upcoming, often unsigned artists. What ideas do you have on the horizon as far as collaborations go?

Actually, I just wrapped up an album with C-Plus, who was on my Twilight album, he’s dope, so we did an album that sounds really cool. I’m also working on an album with Jon Connor. Jon Connor, that boy’s a beast man. He’s a major lyricist and he’s out of control. You know I’m always keeping my ears open, listening, because I love working with new artists because they inspire me. They always have fresh ideas, and they make me think out of the box, as opposed to an establish artists that usually already has a set direction and knows exactly where they want to go with a record. And the crazy thing is, is that the newer artists today are sort of going back to that original hip-hop style, guys like Joey Bada$$, who’s sounding fresh, but he’s putting out that boom bap and its sounding really good. So not only do they introduce a new sound but these newer artists are helping to add a different perspective on the original sound, and that’s why the Pilot Talk concept was so dope. It was still my sound but Curren$y incorporated so much of his style into it.

That NOLA jazz sound.

Yeah, exactly.

Its funny you mentioned Joey Bada$$, because my next question was going to be what your take is on his music, and his movement. I can’t imagine you guys haven’t had at least a conversation or two.

Oh yeah, we did a song. I’m not exactly sure what they plan on doing with it. If they don’t use it I’m definitely gonna want to use it on 24 Hour Karate School 3. The song is dope, and I like Joey. I like his creativeness, if that’s a word, you know what I mean. I like the way he puts his sh*t together, and I wasn’t expecting that when I went to the studio. But I was up there for like an hour, and he just went straight in the booth.

So you guys were in the studio together, it wasn’t an email gig.

Yeah, I was up at their studio, the Pro Era studio. They wanted me to come through, you know, play some beats, and I had a couple dope joints. I played him a few, and an hour later, boom, you know. So it was dope.

Word was you had some work with Ab-Soul coming. Is that still happening, any updates?

Aw man, I’ve been trying to reach out to Ab-Soul man. If Ab-Soul is reading this, man Ab-Soul, if you’re reading this, reach out to me man. Ab is dope man, and us doing a record would be dope, it would be crazy, hopefully we can get it done. He took off, his career has gone in a whole new direction, and he’s got a million and one things going on. But if he reads this article, hopefully we can do a record because that would be crazy.

Hit-Boy, Mike Will Made It, Boi-1da, 40, etc, are part of this new wave of “super producers” that have all made a name for themselves over the past couple years. What do you see in them that you saw in guys like yourself, DJ Premier, Dr. Dre, Timbaland, Just Blaze and 9th Wonder when you were on the come up. Do you see any similarities or differences?

There’s always going to be that one similarity, and that’s their love for it. They love the music, and they love doing what they do that’s why they do it so well. That’s the only thing it takes to be successful, and once you have that, you can move mountains baby. And then there are going to be a lot of producers that try to emulate their sound, but you can always tell that it doesn’t really come from a real place, you know.

Is their sound different?

The sound is a little different, sonically, but its still dope, and I learn a lot from listening to guys like that. I’m open to mixing my style with other styles, and I appreciate cats like that, that make dope music because it keeps me loving hip-hop. Music is always revolving, and always changing. Hip-hop can be anything.

Give me your five favorite beats from this year, and last year.

Wow. There are so many I’m not sure I can narrow it down. I like that (sings) b*tch don’t kill my vibe. That’s a dope one. Also, the joint Premo did, with Royce. I can run a marathon backwards…

You mean Second Place.

Yeah, that one is crazy dope. I love the beat to the Overdoz joint, what’s it called, Lauren London? Super dope. There’s a beat to an Ab-Soul record I can’t think of the name though, but he’s got crazy production. I like the “Ill mind of Hopsin” joint too, number 5. Its fresh. I can’t think of it all right now its a blur, because I listen to so much. But those are the ones that stand out to me. I like the Hopsin record especially because of his lyrical content. The beat is dope too but his lyrics are so fresh. And a lot of people try to compare him to Eminem but he gets his message across. Once you get your message across you’re doing what you have to do.

Last question. We’ve heard your advice to up-and-coming producers before, but what would you tell them to absolutely not do?

I always say this. Its cool to be inspired, but don’t go biting. You can be inspired but be original, use the inspiration to spark some type of originality out of yourself. Create music from a real place, and it’ll be totally different from everyone else’s music because theoretically, it’ll be different, you know?

There’s a fine line between the two, is what you’re saying.

Absolutely.

-Khari Nixon (@KingVanGogh)